Loyola Hall update
Regis Penn ’25
Strake Jesuit is adding to its sprawling campus once again with its newest building, Loyola Hall.
The new 78,000 square foot, three-story building will be completed at the beginning of next year and will feature 19 new classrooms, several administrative offices, and a parking lot that can accommodate 300 vehicles to ease the currently cramped campus parking situation.
Loyola Hall will serve as the new main building for the Strake Jesuit campus. It will house all of the Administration and a new reception lobby. Currently, the administrative offices are spread about in the Hamilton Building and Moran Hall.
Mr. Mark Lawrence, the Director of Operations, is one of the many administrators looking forward to this change. “It will be really effective and efficient to have all admin in one building,” he said. “With the new building, I can pop by next door to meet colleagues.”
With Strake Jesuit already having one of the largest high school campuses in the Houston area, why does SJ need yet another building? “We are at a 99 percent utilization rate of classrooms, while 80 percent is ideal,” Mr. Lawrence said.
With enrollment having climbed to 1,337 students, Strake Jesuit needs more space. At any moment 99 percent of classrooms and offices are being used, meaning renovations and maintenance can be done only during the summer or on weekends.
“A majority of the first and second floors will be classrooms,” Brady Bergeron said, a project engineer for Harvey Builders, who is working on the building’s construction.
Of the 19 classrooms in the new building, students can expect many of them to be used for social studies. “The Social Studies department will also be moving to Loyola Hall,” Mr. Lawrence said. “Social Studies never had a home, unlike other departments.”
The completion of Loyola Hall will also create other big changes to the campus, one being a road around the campus perimeter, which will make accessing other parts of the campus easier. “The new main entrance will be on Gessner,” Mr. Lawrence said. “The school address will change to Gessner.” Teachers, students, and guests find the current main entrance is hectic at peak times.
The new main entrance should help with this problem because unlike the Bellaire entrance, the Gessner entrance has a stoplight making it safer and more efficient for guests, teachers, and students entering and exiting the campus.
“The building’s progress is on time,” Mr. Lawrence said. “The foundation, roofing, air conditioning, interior walls, piping, and electrical wiring are finished. Drywall, painting, and finishing out classrooms are still left to be done.” Luckily, Covid has had little impact on the building’s progress.
The 78,000 square foot building, completing the loop around campus, a new parking lot, the new main entrance, and a cooling water plant for the A.C. system totals to a cost of about 35 million dollars.
Loyola Hall is a welcomed addition to the Strake Jesuit campus, an addition students and teachers can look forward to using, beginning in 2022.